The bedrock of our society
TODAY marks the start of Women’s Month and August 9 is Women’s Day. Let us not forget the true significance of the day. Inaugurated in 1994, when South Africa attained democracy, Women’s Day celebrates the political strength, female solidarity and inner fortitude of women who took part in the 1956 march led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn to protest against the racist law that required blacks to carry a “pass”, which restricted their freedom of movement.
More than 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria where they delivered a petition containing more than 100 000 signatures to Prime Minister JG Strijdom’s offices.
August is dedicated to the celebration of women’s achievements, and to promote their freedom and social and economic equality.
Each day, more than two billion women awaken with the daunting task of engaging, surviving and getting the job done in a male-dominated world. This patriarchal system has prevailed for more than 6 000 years. In almost every corner of importance to mankind, whether it be religion, government, business or politics, men have dominated and excluded women from playing a meaningful role. Although the balance is shifting, there’s a mountain to climb before women have an equal playing field. Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours and produce half the world’s food, yet earn only 10% of the world’s income.Every day, women are murdered, physically and sexually assaulted, threatened and humiliated by their partners, within their own homes. It is estimated that about 150 women are raped every day.If you are a victim of violence, remember the law is on your side. If you are a witness and remain silent, you are helping to further the abuse.
When women marched on the bastions of apartheid power in 1956, they voiced their disgust and opposition in the words of a simple statement of power, authority and determination:
(You strike a woman, you strike a rock). Women are the foundation of society.